Recreational boatie to pay $5,050 after causing collision

10 July 2019

An Auckland recreational boatie, Andrew Douglas Hutchings, has been ordered to pay $5,050 in fines and emotional harm payments after causing a collision on the Waitemata Harbour.

Maritime NZ Northern Regional Compliance Manager, Neil Rowarth, said Mr Hutchings had put the lives of others in danger by acting recklessly.

The collision caused all three people on board Mr Hutchings’ boat, Maraetai Star, to fall to the deck. Mr Hutchings was knocked unconscious and received a broken nose. One crew member was also rendered unconscious and received a cut to his head while the other crew member suffered a bruised hip.

Mr Rowarth said the Auckland District Court’s decision sends a strong message to recreational boaties.

“The skipper of a recreational boat must know they are responsible for the safety of their boat, passengers and crew, and others on the water.

“If you endanger people you can be prosecuted.”

In this case, Maritime NZ prosecuted Mr Hutchings under the Maritime Transport Act for causing unnecessary danger by not keeping proper look out.

Mr Hutchings pleaded guilty and was sentenced by the Court on 8 July 2019. He was fined $ 4,650 and ordered to pay the affected boat owner of the Hiria an emotional harm payment of $400, as an acknowledgement of the inconvenience he caused.

On 24 February 2018 Mr Hutchings’ boat, Maraetai Star, was traveling at moderate to a high speed (15 knots), at night, close to hazards without adequate navigational aids. He did not slow down or seek assistance from other crew while he was working on a technology issue with his navigation app.

Maraetai Star, collided with the Hiria, which was moored in the Devonport small craft mooring area.

Maraetai Star rode into the side of the Hiria and risked capsizing, which, given that two members of the crew had been knocked unconscious, could have been fatal. Significant damage was caused to both vessels.

Mr Rowarth said it is important to send a message to the recreational boating community: “To help keep yourself and others safe you must keep proper look out at all times. At night, slow down and be particularly careful.”

Maritime NZ Compliance Operating Model

Maritime NZ’s compliance work includes a range of actions – with a heavy focus on supporting and encouraging safety and environmental protection through information and education. It also includes audits and inspections, targeted campaigns, investigations and, in some cases, prosecutions.

We will choose the most appropriate intervention for the issue involved – the right tool at the right time. The Model guides those decisions.

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